Valentines for Land Defenders: Show You Care

Several weeks have passed since heavily armed Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers (RCMP) entered Wet’suwet’en territory in Northwest British Columbia to enforce an injunction obtained by Coastal Gaslink. Video footage, often graphic, shows the violent arrests of various people between late September and the end of November, including two journalists, elders, and hereditary Chiefs.

The use of K9 units, heavily armed police, and helicopters against peaceful land defenders for the third time in as many years shocked people both within and outside Canada. Immediately after the arrests, solidarity actions with Wet’suwet’en land defenders sprang up around the globe. Observers say they question Canada’s sincerity regarding reconciliation and respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples, as well as its commitment to addressing climate change.

On February 14, most of those arrested in November will be in court in Prince George, BC to face the charges against them.

Take Action!

Show you care by writing a Valentine for a Land Defender! For the next four weeks, Amnesty will collect Solidarity Valentines and hand deliver them to Land Defenders heading to court on February 14. We are launching this action with the knowledge and support of the Gidimt’en Access Point and their legal team. This action is open from January 13 to February 10th.

Instructions:

  • Buy or download a Valentine card or get creative by drawing your own
  • Write a heart-felt message. Here are some ideas:
    • You are not alone! Thank you for your courage <3
    • Sending you solidarity and deepest thanks for defending the land and water!
    • Land defenders like you make the world a better place for everyone – thank you!

Take a photo of your Valentine and upload it to this Google folder: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/18PrCfMtT0fL_pdqKd0EFaqQ7ZtO3XgA4?usp=sharing

You can also simply send a photo of your Valentine to edumitru@amnesty.ca and she will upload it to the drive.

We will print your messages and deliver them to Defenders going to court in Prince George, BC on February 14th. We’ll share photos of the delivery of your messages on our social media accounts and in this space.

After February 14: We will continue to gather Love Letters for Land Defenders throughout 2022. The work of land defenders might be highly visible and or personal and invisible: we want to celebrate all the actions taken by land defenders. Our aim is to gather thousands of messages of solidarity with land defenders across Turtle Island, over the Medicine Line, and throughout the Americas. We will be calling on creative people, quilters, knitters, painters and poets to turn these messages into beautiful works of art which we will share with community partners from Canada to Colombia in the second half of 2022. Please check this blog space after February 14 for more information.

Ways to take further action today:

  • Donate: We encourage Amnesty groups and members that are in a position to do so, to send a donation for food and supplies as requested by Gidimt’en Yintah Access. We will purchase supplies locally and deliver them in February. If you are able to contribute to this initiative, please email Don Wright: dwright@amnesty.ca Donations will be accepted until February 12.
  • Webinar Injunctions: The imbalances, Indigenous injustices, and insights into reform: On Thursday, February 10 at 10:30 am Pacific, join this introductory webinar to injunctions and how they are used by companies to proceed with projects that are opposed by Indigenous peoples. Researchers and Land Defenders will discuss the abuse of injunctions, power imbalance, common law, and potential pathways forward out of the legal status quo. The Webinar is hosted by our partners at SkeenaWild Conservation Trust and Northern Confluence. For this free webinar, register here –https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NMDbv3dFTGSGuZ17sBiQ5g
  • Join a local divestment campaign: All 5 top Canadian banks are heavily invested in the fossil fuel industry and land defenders across Canada are calling on them to stop funding fossil fuel projects like pipelines. If you are a client at one of these banks, joining a divestment action in your community will send a powerful message about how your wish your money to be used. If you aren’t already connected to a divestment group in your community, here are some resources:

If you would like to learn more about joining a divestment campaign in your community, please send an email to Corporate Accountability & Climate Justice Campaigner, Tara Scurr: tscurr@amnesty.ca

Thank you for your solidarity with Land Defenders and for showing that you care!